Postpartum Fitness and Nutrition

This is a topic that I googled endlessly during my pregnancy and then postpartum. It seems that every woman’s journey is so different, and I love that no matter what yours happens to be, there’s at least one person out there in the great big internet world that can empathize with you. I love reading different bits of advice and tips for every stage of motherhood, from pregnancy to delivery to newborn to infant (currently), and beyond.

Regardless of whether we like to admit it or not, I think every girl wants to know what to expect when it comes to your body after baby. How long will it take to feel normal again? What does it look like to take health and exercise seriously, but also give yourself grace and patience? Is it okay to live off of just coffee? (Unrelated –> I’m finding there’s a direct correlation between number of hours of sleep I get and how much cream goes into my coffee. Anyone else?)

I have a tendency to make everything way harder than it needs to be and try to control everything (I tell Trevor its one of my many adorable quirks), so I’m still asking myself these questions. What if I gave myself time and space to recover, instead of trying to rush the whole health process postpartum? I remember at one of my first follow-up appointments with my midwife, she noticed that I was putting too much pressure on myself concerning how I felt hormonally, my weight, energy, etc. She said, “You need to give yourself at least six months to even begin to feel normal again.”

At the time, that seemed incomprehensible. Looking back, she was completely right. To me, six months is modest.

Regardless, there did come a point where I felt energized enough to begin exercising with a healthy and balanced mindset. Working out really helped with some PPD that I was experiencing. It gave me a clearer head and helped to move the clouds and brain-fog. Even at 7 months postpartum, PPD can still rear its head, and exercise really does make a huge difference. Also, Jonathan is crazy active now and having a bit of extra energy doesn’t hurt!

I wanted to share a couple of the workouts that are constants for me because I love reading about things that have worked for other new moms. I think that your body-type probably has a lot to do with what workout-combo works for you, and I’ve found that a combination of circuit training and ballet/pilates works best for me. I’m devoted to Ballet Beautiful by Mary Helen Bowers because her workouts are set to classical music and are so calming, but the routine itself is incredibly difficult. She makes it seem effortless somehow, but you can hardly walk the next day. She has a classic total body workout that lasts about an hour, which is great, but her Body Blast workouts are pretty awesome because there’s four 15-minute sessions that are all really difficult. I love these because I can choose the focus for the day. Sometimes, two of the leg workouts is enough for me. Other times, I’ll just do the arms and then some other kind of workout as well. The exercises really lengthen and tone your muscles without making them bulky. They’re pretty fantastic!

The other workout that I’m addicted to is Jillian Michael’s Banish Fat Boost Metabolism. It’s almost an hour long, and it is insane. It’s a series of seven circuits, repeated twice. There are about five exercises in each circuit, so you’re doing about 70 exercises (math skills for days over here). I’m not sure how many reps in each individual exercise, but regardless, it’s an intense workout. There are no weights involved, so it just uses your body weight for resistance. It includes kickboxing, plyometrics, calisthenics, core work, and other cardio/resistance work. I normally wear my Polar watch while exercising, and with this workout, I burn about 450 calories, and then a couple hours later, it’s jumped to over 1,200 calories. This gives me room to eat more dessert…and also I just love it because my energy skyrockets afterwards. It covers so many different types of exercises in just one session.

I know that it is so different for each woman in terms of how your body responds postpartum, but for me, this workout combo along with eating healthy and staying hydrated has helped me lose about 45 pounds since having Jonathan. I don’t workout everyday…still just a few times a week currently. I typically do it after Jonathan goes to bed because during the day, he’s bound to wake up from a nap right in the middle of a circuit. 🙂

Actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, I haven’t worked out in over a week due to coming down with a cold and Jonathan getting sick, as well. Baby gets sick, mama gets sick! Never underestimate the power of an infant who avoids sleep like the plague, both day and night. I’m talking standing in the crib defiantly screaming/crying (I know it’s fake because I can see in the baby monitor every time he takes a break and casually looks around) with legs locked until he physically has to lay down…and then he falls asleep immediately. This whole process normally lasts less than 15 minutes. He’s discovered the monitor and watches it move around, so I think he’s getting the hint that someone is watching his crib-show. He’s just so darn cute though!

Here he is practicing standing:

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he’s very proud of his new skill!

Anyways, I’ve been a little bit tired lately. Any downtime I’ve had has been spent on the couch blowing my nose and wallowing in my own tiredness. Therefore, over the weekend, long walks will be my exercise, and I’ll focus more on my sustenance not coming from solely chocolate and coffee. (Sidenote – If you’re looking for incredible coffee, we buy Cafe Britt Costa Rican Dark Roast.  It is so good. Also, it’s my name which makes me feel special because I’m 5.)

Speaking of nutrition, here’s what has worked pretty well for me other than eating chocolate. My diet is pretty much the same most days, with little variances here and there. Typically, breakfast is a big protein smoothie made with berries, almond milk, banana, peanut butter, oats, and whey . It’s calorie-laden enough to give me energy for hours. It satisfies my sweet tooth (for a short time) just from the fruit sugar. Most lunches consist of some kind of veggie/egg/rice scramble or leftovers like chicken and potato. I’m trying to bring more variety to dinner while cutting out most red meat, so we’ve been having a lot of peanut chicken over brown rice, fish with roasted veggies, and different types of filling soup. I still have white wine fairly often and indulge in random chocolate cravings because moderation is key, and I need chocolate. As long as I stick to drinking a lot of water, getting some workouts in, and eating mostly healthy, everything is good.

Seriously though, who wants to live without wine and chocolate?

Anyways, If you have any tips or stories about your postpartum journey, I would LOVE to hear!

Attached below, for anyone who is interested, is the YouTube video of the Jillian Michael’s workout. Also included below is the link for the protein powder that I absolutely love, and even got my hubby hooked on. 🙂

 

Jarrow Whey Protein Powder

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Hope this post is helpful for some new momma’s!

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Disclaimer: Heavier Post Ahead

Concerning all of the recent events that have happened, in Paris and countless cities before her, in airplanes and migrant ships, in bus stations and stadiums, in concert halls and restaurants, it seems every hour there is a new story. My newsfeed is filling up constantly with differing opinions on what should happen, what measures our country should take, what beliefs and values we are currently compromising, the list goes on. In my opinion, very few of us, if any, have any real idea of what this enormous issue actually looks like and its complexity. If there was an easy answer, it would have already happened. Regardless, I really felt inclined to write this post because one thing came to my mind as I read about the latest terror attack: “Maranatha”…Come quickly, Lord Jesus. For the sake of those who live in total fear every single day, for the sake of those who may not see very much light at all in this lifetime, for the sake of the children. I can only imagine how serious and desperate that plea is for millions of people at this moment..countless Christians persecuted daily under brutal regimes, terrified migrant families traveling without shelter or basic provisions whose children are crying from thirst and hunger, loved ones of terror-attack victims who feel they can hardly even breathe through the crushing grief.

Whether or not you believe that Jesus is God does not change the fact that all of creation waits and groans in painful expectation. No matter how hard we try to prevent acts of evil from happening or come up with solutions that we think will safeguard our security, the reality is that the world is broken and hurting and waiting for total restoration. In the midst of a fear-filled world desperate for hope, I’m reminded that there is only one true Hope. There is only one Savior, and He will “lay bare His holy arm in the sight of ALL nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.” (Is. 52:10)

Now more than ever, I can see why it’s so important to have an eternal perspective. God is the final Authority, and He is who we will encounter face to face and give an account to. When a terrorist is killed along with his victims, I imagine he sees them immediately in eternity. In this Paris attack…the Beirut attack…the Russian plane attack…the list goes on, the attackers who died were immediately met with the face of the Living God and those whose life they just took. It’s a sobering thought and one that I can’t really shake…to live in total deception for so long and then instantaneously face Truth, to stand next to the ones whose lives you took just a second before, leaving entire families shattered. All of the sudden, they see everything. All of the sudden, they stand alone and accountable for everything. There are so many sides to all of the current events, so many things that are heart-wrenching and disturbing, and I hope that our first response, before forming an opinion, is to pray..for the victims, the migrants, the attackers, our nation, other nations, and the state of our own hearts. 

The Little Things

I’ve grown up learning about the importance of daily disciplines and cultivating little habits that eventually become second-nature. Before Jonathan, I read some books on ways to incorporate healthy habits into your life, just small things, but things that take discipline nonetheless. Apart from work and a few other commitments, it didn’t take a lot of planning or thought to try out some of these ideas. I could wake up 30 minutes earlier to have quiet time, go to bed 30 minutes earlier to read, plan to take a short nap after work so I have more energy for a work out before dinner, etc..

After having Jonathan, it’s amazing how much more I need the discipline of healthy habits. I’m learning that having a newborn forces your day to be broken up into 30 minute to an hour increments, which can be a real blessing. Of course there are the days when he is nursing on the hour and fussy in between, and those are the days when no blog gets written 🙂 I’m also learning that, with having a baby, you have to take advantage of down-time when it comes because the rest of the day might be spent rocking, gas-dropping, belly-massaging, and forgetting about any kind of schedule. Taking advantage of the down-time could look like cleaning a little bit, or it could be quiet time or doing something relaxing.

I never used to understand how mama’s always talk about finally getting to their cup of coffee 4 hours later, or not eating breakfast until 2pm, but it’s hilarious how true it is. Because of Jonathan, I’m learning to focus on and celebrate the small things in life, little victories like getting him to sleep longer for naps, making his tummy feel better, helping him sleep longer through the night, the list goes on. It makes seemingly small disciplines feel like major accomplishments, such as getting the house clean, getting a good workout in, eating well throughout the day. Taking the time in between caring for Jonathan to work on a small habit makes me feel a thousand times better. It helps me feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. There have been days where the time in between nursing has been spent just staring at him, and in those times, that’s what my heart needed most. I’ve just found that when I intentionally complete little disciplines throughout the day, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes at a time, I feel better as a wife, a mom, a human being. My mood is better, my body feels better, and my mind feels more clear.

Anyways, what has nudged me to slow down the most has been the nursing. Settling in for 30-45 minutes every 2 hours to nurse, burp, and change a diaper has tested my need to be productive. In reality, feeding and taking care of him is the most productive thing I can do right now, and the most important! Sometimes, the whole 2 hour window may be taken up by nursing, diaper changing, burping, and calming him if he’s fussy. Once he’s calm, he’s hungry again, so there have been days where everything else goes out the window, and I’m not complaining. I’m loving all the bonding time!

I know that this season of taking care of a newborn goes by so fast, so I’m trying to just soak in these moments where I’m needed ’round the clock. If there are days where all the laundry gets done, the dinner gets cooked, the floors get swept, then great! But there are days where the only thing happening is baby-time, and I couldn’t be more content. It’s those days where I know that cultivating little daily habits will serve me well, because a dirty house really does stress me out, and it doesn’t put me so over the edge if I swept the day before 🙂

Anyways.

For now, especially before I go back to work, I’m focusing on the small things. I want to create an atmosphere of peace in the home, be present and whole for Trevor and Jonathan, and stay grounded in my identity first as a daughter of God. I’m learning that all of these things are entirely possible with just little daily disciplines, 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

In conclusion…here are some recent pictures taken with our new Canon camera!

Cuteness

Cuteness

Jonathan and Papa

Jonathan and Papa

Another sweet shot of daddy and son

Another sweet shot of daddy and son

Hands always up by his head :)

Hands always up by his head 🙂

Our new beautiful keyboard!

Our new beautiful keyboard!

The Power of Positive Thinking – And Also, HBD TO MY HUBBY!!

Happy Wednesday!

First, here’s a big belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my handsome man who turns 30 today!! 30 has never looked better. Trevor, I can’t believe how much more I love you now than I did when we were first together. Seeing you become a father has made my respect for you skyrocket. You are just the best daddy in the whole world, and Jonathan and I are the luckiest to have you.

It’s been almost 6 years since we became friends, almost 3 years since we started dating, and over 2 years of marriage. I have always said you were the best guy I knew (even when I was dating someone else back in the day..), and you are still by far the best there is. Here are a few things I LOVE about you:

  • Your sense of humor has me in stitches constantly.
  • Your leadership over our family is strong and protective.
  • Your pursuit of my heart leaves me humbled.
  • Your integrity is unwavering.
  • You are constantly growing in the Lord and are always seeking to know His ways.
  • Your words are never frivolous or meaningless, but rather thoughtful and true.
  • You are friend to the friendless.
  • You lead with grace and strength.
  • You never gossip and are cautious to speak a harsh word against anyone, yet you don’t shy away from speaking truth when the time is right.
  • Your teaching of Scripture, to me, is unparalleled. I love listening to you speak.

I’m so proud to be called your wife. I’m proud to raise a son who calls you father. I love you deeply.

On a completely different note! I’ve read, off and on, The Power of Positive Thinking for a few years now, and it really is such a useful book. It’s one that I flip through constantly. Norman Vincent Peale, the author, was a minister, so the book is full of Scripture and references to Christ. I love it because it’s practical and incredibly helpful if you struggle with negativity. Over the past year or so, I’ve been reading different sources that deal with the power of mentality and the will, and the consequences of a pessimistic mindset. It’s staggering what negativity and deception can do to your mind, your body, and your emotions. It’s also staggering what can happen when you start to take control back and intentionally change your thought processes. In The Power of Positive Thinking, I came across a list of 7 steps that help you shift your mentality to positive, and I want to write them out here for anyone that might benefit from it:

1. “For the next twenty-four hours, deliberately speak hopefully about everything, about your job, about your health, about your future. Go out of your way to talk optimistically about everything.”

2. “After speaking hopefully for twenty-four hours, continue the practice for one week, then you can be permitted to be “realistic” for a day or two. You will discover that what you meant by “realistic” a week ago was actually pessimistic, but what you now mean by “realistic” is something entirely different; it is the dawning of a positive outlook. When most people say they are being “realistic” they delude themselves: they are simply being negative.”

3. “You must feed your mind even as you feed your body, and to make your mind healthy you must feed it nourishing, wholesome thoughts…Start at the beginning of the New Testament and underscore every sentence about faith. Continue doing this until you have marked every passage in the four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Particularly note Mark 11, verses 22, 23, 24. They will serve as samples of the verses you are to underscore and fix deeply in your consciousness.

4. “Then, commit the underscored passages to memory. Commit one each day until you can recite the entire list from memory. This will take time, but remember you have consumed much more time becoming a negative thinker than this will require. Effort and time will be needed to unlearn your negative pattern.”

5. “Make a list of your friends to determine who is the most positive thinker among them and deliberately cultivate his society. Do not abandon your negative friends, but get closer to those with a positive point of view for a while, until you have absorbed their spirit, then you can go back among your negative friends and give them your newly acquired thought pattern without taking on their negativism.”

6. “Avoid argument, but whenever a negative attitude is expressed, counter with a positive and optimistic opinion.”

7. “Pray a great deal and always let your prayer take the form of thanksgiving on the assumption that God is giving you great and wonderful things; for if you think He is, He surely is.”

These steps are so simple, but I’ve found that it’s the most simple things done habitually that make the biggest difference. I hope this is as helpful for others as it is for me!

**reference: Peale, Norman Vincent. The Power of Positive Thinking. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1952. Print. Pg. 171, 172.

10 Things that Surprised Me About Motherhood

While I knew that nothing would be as I expected once the baby came, regardless of the number of books and articles I read, some things really did catch me off guard. I have learned that a special grace comes with the sleep-deprivation, an overwhelming love overrides the diaper changing throughout the night, and all of the sudden you have supersonic hearing.

Here are just 10 that I have learned thus far:

  1. The 10-12 diapers a day is actually an under-estimate. If you have a boy, take into account that sometimes he’ll pee on the new one right before you close it up. 2 at a time, baby!
  2. As much as I thought I wouldn’t, I missed the feeling of being pregnant within a day or two. I heard that would happen from my midwife and all my friends, and I never believed them due to feeling just generally pretty lousy throughout much of the pregnancy. It really is such a special time when you can feel every little kick and hiccup.
  3. I really think babies can sense when you’re sitting down to eat. 2-3 hours, not a peep…I sit down with food, and he gets hungry. This is also something I always heard from my mom-friends would happen on the regular. It is so true and pretty hilarious.
  4. I can hear Jonathan’s tiniest noises from pretty much any room in the house.
  5. Somehow, I feel more rested after a solid 3 hours of interrupted sleep than I did with 8 hours pre-pregnancy.
  6. What are meals? 2pm cereal, 8pm pizza. Same cup of coffee throughout the day, reheated 10 times. Add more cream and cold coffee from french press as tiredness sets in. I’m counting on my appetite improving sooner rather than later, hopefully. Until then, I’m happy with whatever I can eat with one hand.
  7. As much as I swore I would never fall asleep with my baby in the bed, it’s happened once or twice with the 4am nursing sessions. I think I was sleep-nursing.
  8. There is nothing that compares to seeing your husband become a father and step into that role with such strength and humility. Trevor doesn’t think twice about changing diapers and cleaning spit-up. He changed every dirty diaper while we were at the hospital. #Smitten.
  9. Swaddling tight is a miracle-worker.
  10. I could kiss his face and just stare all day! Everyday. It truly is a miracle holding the little one you carried in your belly for 9 months. I am ruined.

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Obsessed.

We are so blessed and so happy!

No-Butter Delicious Fudgy Chocolatey Cupcakes

The recipe I’m about to share is literally such a gem, I can’t believe I haven’t been using it for years. It isn’t vegan, but it IS made without butter. It is made with…

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The balm of the heavens! The angels began to sing. Behold, the oil of the coconut.

There is literally no reason not to bake with it. Everything is fluffed to perfection if you just heat it a little before adding it in. This cupcake recipe is modified from Martha Stewart’s One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes from her cookbook The Cooking School. I cut down the sugar by over a cup, use non-fat milk, and sub the coconut oil for the butter. Sometimes, if I’m feeling chef-y, I even use cake flour. This doesn’t happen often. The result is great regardless of one’s flour preference. If you do use cake flour, add 2 tablespoons for every cup of regular flour called for. Also, the original recipe calls for buttermilk. Buttermilk is slightly (completely) repulsive to me. I used it once in this recipe and then moved on to the far more practical version of just adding a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to milk and letting it sit for 5 or 30 minutes (depending on if I’m watching a show). The result is exactly the same.

ALSO, I make a dozen cupcakes and then a one-layer cake out of this. You could do 24 cupcakes, 48 mini-cupcakes, a large cake, maybe a couple bundt cakes, a dozen HUGE cupcakes..the possibilities are endless.

Recipe:

2 eggs, 1 egg yolk

1 1/3 c. white sugar (could sub a healthier sugar, never tried it)

1/2 c. coconut oil + 2 tbs.

2 tsp vanilla like a normal person, or 5 tbs. like me

1 1/4 c. milk + 1 tbs. lemon juice/white vinegar… OR 1 1/4 c. buttermilk

1 1/4 c. warm water

2 1/2 c. flour

1 1/4 c. cocoa powder

2 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil up whatever your choice of baking-ware is. I do a cupcake pan and a glass pie pan. This recipe is supposed to be all in one bowl, so it’s okay to not mix dry and wet separately first. I normally beat the eggs for a while to get them light and fluffy and then add in the sugar and beat for a while longer, followed by the coconut oil, vanilla, and warm water. I then add in the salt, baking soda, and baking powder, followed by alternating the flour and milk until mixed thoroughly. This last time, I added in chocolate chips at the end (you’ll stop  judging once you’ve tried it), and OH MY GOSH, so good.

The cupcakes should be done at 20 minutes. Sometimes, it may take a few minutes longer. Watch closely, because it can go from not done to done in a minute, and these overdone are not good. All moistness gone.

The cake will take longer, by about 10 minutes or so. I typically put the cake one rack lower than the cupcakes. Not sure if that helps or not, but it works for me. The cake also goes from perfect and moist to dry and overdone in what seems like no time.

For the frosting, I don’t use a recipe. Just throw in a few cups of powdered sugar, vanilla (a lot), a few large spoonfuls of heated coconut oil, and splash in milk until it’s a good consistency.

I wasn’t patient enough to take pictures of the baking process, but here are some moderately clear pics of the end result. Hubby loves these and can’t taste a difference! He’s also very partial to coconut anything, so that might be why. I can’t even taste the coconut in these. They’re just way more moist than any cupcakes I’ve made with butter in the past.

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It looks like there is a lot of icing on each one, but really it just spreads out a lot. These are rich, so I just put a small spoonful on each one.

DELICIOUS.

 

7 Habits of an Insecure Woman

This post rang so true for me, just had to reblog 🙂

Call Her Blessed

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
7habitsofinsecurewoman Insecurity has been a plague to women since the beginning of time. That’s not how we are intended to live. God desires us to be women of confidence and power to fulfill our callings and destines. I do not have this all figured out. Please know that I am writing to you as I can identify with each of these traits, but I am striving to embrace the confidence God intends for me to possess and with His grace and help, I’ve been able to gain confidence. Want to join me?

Here are 7 habits of an insecure woman:

1. An Insecure Woman is Critical. She lives with a glass half empty, negative mindset. Insecurity and Positivity can not coexist. She is always finding something or someone to indicate the faults of and disapprove of. The way someone works, acts, and talks. The way something…

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